Passim announces 2017 Iguana Music Fund grantees


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Cambridge, MA, December 28, 2017 — Passim announced today that it has awarded over $40,000 to 28 different musicians through its Iguana Music Fund. The grant program awards gifts annually to musicians for projects that enhance their careers or aid their community outreach efforts. To date, Passim has awarded over $350,000 in grants marking the Cambridge organization’s 10th year of grantmaking.

The Iguana Music Fund was launched in 2008 after an anonymous donor approached Passim with the idea to start a program to assist local artists and annually provides grants from $500 to $2,000 to musicians with a New England connection. Grants are allocated in the areas of recording or manufacturing assistance; publicity & marketing support; equipment & instruments; songwriting retreats; tour support; special projects and other specific activities promoting artists and/or professional growth.

The 2017 Iguana Music Fund grant recipients are:
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Boston (DBSA-Boston)
Charan Devereaux
James Rohr
Kids Really Rock
Freelance Players, Inc. dba Urban Improv
The Wolff Sisters & The Last Cavalry
Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves
The Bluegrass University
Elizabeth and Ben Anderson
Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band
Greg Klyma
Jenna Moynihan
Laura Orshaw
Red Line Roots
Ben Truboff
Christine Delphine Hedden
Deborah Silverstein
Eliza Edens
Emily Mure
Gretchen and the Pickpockets
Mairi Chaimbeul
Molly Pinto Madigan
The New England Songwriters Retreat
Mary Bichner
Renewal of multi-year ‘Baby Iguana’ grants for Miles of Music Camp and Sub Rosa Songwriters Retreat

“Throughout our 60 years, Passim has sought to nurture artists in every stage of their careers and to support a vibrant music scene,” said Jim Wooster, Executive Director of Passim. “The Iguana Music Fund grants allow Passim the opportunity to directly help a number of local musicians with career-enhancing projects and impactful community programs.”

Artists including The Wolff Sisters & The Last Cavalry, Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves, Elizabeth and Ben Anderson, Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band, Jenna Moynihan, Laura Orshaw, Christine Delphine Hedden, Eliza Edens, Gretchen and the Pickpockets, and Molly Pinto Madigan will use their grants to support recording projects. James Rohr will update his current recording gear, Emily Mure will refresh her guitar and performance setup, and Red Line Roots will purchase new microphones to improve filming of its Old Spruce Sessions, a video series featuring artists performing in non-traditional settings.

In the realm of composition, Deborah Silverstein will construct a musical entitled “Riveted,” a multi-generational drama based on “Rosie” (the Riveter) and the post-war women’s narrative. The Freelance Players will use their awarded funds to notate 39 songs from their Urban Improv program written for Boston students grade four through eight that reflect the themes and lessons of social justice and racial equity.

Newpoli will showcase their eight-piece ensemble at the 2018 Folk Alliance International Conference in Kansas City. Mary Bichner will use her grant to serve as the composer-in-residence at the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. Greg Klyma will use his grant for travel expenses to perform at Moccasin Creek Festival in Effingham, IL.

Mairi Chaimbeul, a Scottish musician living in the US, will use the funds to support her process of securing a US artist visa, so she can continue the musical career she’s been establishing in Boston since 2012.

DBSA-Boston will help provide musical instruments as a coping mechanism for mental health issues, Kids Really Rock will offer free concerts in diverse neighborhoods, and Ben Truboff will expose his 7th-grade students to World Music by bringing musicians and educators into his classroom. The Me 2/Orchestra, the only orchestra in the world for people with mental illness, will finish the editing process on its documentary. The New England Songwriters Retreat will provide scholarships for younger musicians with financial needs who want to attend the program. Charan Devereaux will record music of different faiths found in the city of Somerville, hoping to create an exhibit that will ultimately be displayed in the Somerville Museum. The Bluegrass University will use funds to produce its “non-festival,” a bluegrass jamming weekend in the Boston-area for all ages and ability levels including workshops and instructor-led jams.

In addition to the 26 grants, Passim’s Iguana Music Fund continues to support two multi-year “Baby Iguana” grants that have previously been awarded to the Sub Rosa Songwriting Retreat, a program that brings together a group of artists for a week each summer to write and collaborate in a secluded setting on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire and Miles of Music Camp, a week-long retreat exploring traditional folk music, modern songwriting and how they work together.

The work of the 2017 Iguana Music Fund grant recipients will be showcased at Club Passim on Monday, April 9 at 7 p.m. Free tickets to the Iguana Music Fund showcase are available online at, by calling 617-492-7679 (9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday) or at the Club Passim box office sixty minutes before the show begins. Club Passim is located in Harvard Square at 47 Palmer St., Cambridge, MA 02138.